What Are Your Rights If Snow Affects Your Journey to Work?

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Your Rights If Snow Affects Your Journey to Work

Winter brings along snow, ice and plunging temperatures. Although it’s rare we get heavy snow and blizzards in the UK, it isn’t uncommon for the slightest hint of snow to grind the roads and public transport networks to a halt, making it difficult for people to get to work.

If you’re unable to get to work because of the snow, our experienced Employment Solicitors explain your rights if snow affects your journey to work.

Your Rights If Snow Affects Your Journey to Work

If I can’t get to work because of the snow, will I get paid?

If your workplace is open and you’re unable to get to work because of the snow, your employer may be entitled to treat your absence as unauthorised. As a result, they may be able to deduct your pay. However, there are exceptions to this, for example, your contract has a specific clause concerning bad weather.

If you cannot get to work because of the bad weather, you should try come to an alternative agreement with your employer. For example, working from home or changing your hours to accommodate the time off work. Also, you should check if your employer has an ‘adverse weather’ policy, which could grant you the right to paid leave, or to discretionary payments for travel disruption.

On the other hand, you could appeal to your employer to exercise discretion. If you can show your employer there was no feasible way you could have attended work, e.g., no public transport operating or your car wouldn’t start and you had no access to public transport, you might be able to persuade them to exercise discretion.

There is also the option to put a grievance in, depending on your situation. If you feel you have been treated unfairly, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Please note, there are strict time limits to when an employment case can be brought, so a delay could prove fatal to any claim.

If my work closes because of the snow, will I get paid?

If your employer closes its workplace due to the snow and you don’t usually or can’t work from home, your employer should still pay you.

It is more difficult for your employer to withhold pay if the closure is their choice. Without a specific clause in your contract of employment entitling them to deduct pay in such circumstances, you may have an unauthorised deduction from wages claim.

You should put a grievance in immediately with your employer.

There are strict time limits for these types of claims. You have 3 months less 1 day to pursue an action in the Employment Tribunal. For example, if you should have been paid on 8th January, you only have until 7th April to commence proceedings (subject to any extension of time granted by correct use of ACAS Early Conciliation). It’s important you seek legal advice straight away.

Do I have to walk to work in the snow?

If you’re unable to travel to work how you normally would because of the snow, you may be able to walk to work. However, this would depend on if you’re able to walk to work relatively easily. For example, if you live far away or the walk could be dangerous, your employer can’t make you come in.

Please note, your employer doesn’t necessarily have to pay you if you’re unable to get to work, so it’s worth speaking to your employer to come up with a solution.

Can I use take a holiday day if I can’t get to work because of the snow?

If you’re unable to get to work because of the snow it may be possible that you can request to take it as holiday, provided you’re given enough warning. For example, if heavy snow fall is expected to cause disruption for several days.

Firstly, you should check your employment contract to see if your employer has put any rules in place about this.

If your employer hasn’t got rules about this and you’re unable to get to work due to disruption caused by snow, usually you can ask your employer if you can take time off as holiday.

What can I do if my child’s school closes because of the snow?

If your child’s school closes or your normal childcare arrangements are disrupted due to the snow, you may be entitled to reasonable unpaid time off because of an  unexpected disruption to childcare arrangements. However, this should be agreed with your employer and in accordance with Government guidance.

Employees are entitled to unpaid leave to look after their child in ‘emergency situations’ such as extreme weather conditions although arrangements between employers and employees will vary on a case-by-case basis.

I attended work as normal, but several of my colleagues have rung to say they will not be in due to the snow and are being paid as normal. I don’t think this is fair is there anything I can do?

No, you are not able to do anything because your employer has chosen to exercise discretion and as long as that is not discriminatory, there is probably little that can be done. You may wish to speak to your employer and in the circumstances, they may allow you to leave early, but there is unlikely to be anno obligation for them to do so.

Specialist Employment Solicitors

Morrish Solicitors is a long-established law firm in West Yorkshire providing a range of legal services both regionally and nationally. We have a team of specialist Employment Solicitors who are renowned for representing private clients, Unions, Associations, Professional Bodies, and their members.

As a trusted provider of employment law services, our Employment Solicitors can support and advise you on a range of employment matters including:

  • Employment Rights
  • Unfair Dismissal & Wrongful Dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Protective Awards, Collective Redundancies & TUPE
  • Settlement Agreements
  • Contractions Disputes
  • Discrimination
  • Employment Status
  • TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings)

If you’d like advice on Employment Rights or any of the above matters, please contact our experienced Employment team on 033 3344 9603 or simply email [email protected] with details of your request.

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